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Troubleshooting TiVo Power Supply Problems

Power supply failures can occur in several components of a TiVo DVR. This article focuses on diagnosing problems with the TiVo power supply.

TiVo Power Supply Failure Symptoms

The most common, and most definitive, symptom of a power supply failure is simply complete lack of video output. If when the TiVo is powered up, the screen image doesn't change, the gray screen (with or without text) doesn't appear, and the TV is definitely set to the correct input to read from the DVR, then the power supply is likely the culprit.

Other Possible Indications of Power Supply Failure

  • Lights on the front faceplate may flash or not illuminate at all
  • The hard drive may not spin up
  • The fan may not spin
  • The power supply itself emit a light ticking sound

In extreme cases, power supplies can even burn, short, or blow the fuse.

Most power supplies for TiVo DVRs have white "flux" anchoring the components to the main board. This material is not the sign of a failed part at all - it is perfectly normal on pretty much all versions of TiVo power supplies.

Often, people are suprised to learn that the power supply is the component causing the problems, because some components work. In many cases, the power supply can spin up a drive or a fan, or cause the lights on the front faceplate to flash, showing that it is providing power, at least to some extent. The power supply may also send the proper voltage (5v and 12v) down the Molex cable and connector to the drive. But these problems can be consistent with a failed power supply. Due to the many components on the power supply board, some can fail (notably the ones providing juice to the motherboard and video circuitry) where others continue to work properly (powering the fan and drive).

Considering that the power supply contains pretty sensitive and potentially dangerous components, we don't recommend end-user repairs for this part. Replacement power supplies are available from vendors.

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